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Lois Verbrugge, Disability Experience & Measurement

Does son preference influence children's growth in height? A comparative study of Chinese and Filipino children

Publication Abstract

Song, S., and Sarah Burgard. 2008. "Does son preference influence children's growth in height? A comparative study of Chinese and Filipino children." Population Studies-a Journal of Demography, 62(3): 305-320.

Research has demonstrated that son preference has a serious impact on the survival and well-being of female infants and children in some parts of South and East Asia, but little is known about the consequences of son preference in later childhood and adolescence. We compare children's growth trajectories in height over childhood and adolescence in China, where the level of son preference is relatively high, and the Philippines, where it is relatively low. Children's height reflects long-term nutritional status and exposure to infectious diseases, both influenced by household decision-making and, presumably, by a preference for sons. Using data from two high-quality longitudinal studies and multilevel growth models, we find that male children in China show an additional height advantage relative to their female counterparts, when compared to the sex difference in growth trajectories in the Philippines. Further analysis reveals that the additional advantage of males in China is stronger in rural areas.

DOI:10.1080/00324720802313553 (Full Text)

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